Photo © NOAA, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license

Front-Line Cities and Islands to support resilience building in small island states

Bonn, Germany, 11 Nov, 2017 – ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA) are launching Front-Line Cities and Islands, a coalition of coastal cities and islands on the front lines of climate change impacts, working to build resilience through coastal city-to-island partnerships.

Although they contribute to less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, small island states are directly affected by climate change. They face inundation from sea level rise and increased frequency and intensity of storms, which threatens surrounding ecosystems and economic activity. Rapid urbanization in island towns also has the potential to exacerbate impacts on fragile coastal and ocean ecosystems that sustain and protect small island nations.

Front-Lines Cities and Islands will work to address these threats. At the heart of the initiative are coastal city-to-island partnerships that will pave the way for new and innovative planning and funding mechanisms that advance resilience, clean energy, sustainable tourism, coastal fisheries management and post-disaster recovery in islands.

“The voyage to a resilient and sustainable future is not one that is taken alone, but by a movement of cities, states, islands and countries working together to shape the future we want,” says H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Junior, President of Palau and Leader of the Global Island Partnership.

Despite the threats they face and their critical role and leadership, small islands still need a more central role in the global climate change debate.

“Islands are preparing for and anticipating shocks and stresses, but more can and should be done. They are on the front lines of climate change and resilience building on these islands is critical,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI. “Front-Line Cities and Islands is a step in the right direction, forging strategic partnership between cities and islands facing common climate-related risks and hazards.”

Front-Line Cities and Islands is supported by a range of regional and international agencies, including the COP23 Presidency. It is also championed by mayors and leaders of islands from Nadi and Suva in Fiji, Cozumel in Mexico, Honiara in the Solomon Islands, Castries in Saint Lucia, Vacoas Phoenix in Mauritius, Palau and many others.

The project methodology will be designed to be applicable for all islands. Project beneficiaries will include independent countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), sub-national island economies and states like Hawaii, Canary Islands, Puerto Rico and Cozumel including small island developing countries (SIDS) like Palau, Fiji and Seychelles – regardless of political status. 

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